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Before you mock at anyone, mind the emotional, social damage



social status and mocking


This decent learner was emotionally bashed by a gang of five miscreants. Unfortunately, that hurts more than the physical wounds would do. It implied that the silent was overwhelmed by the feeling of guilt. Especially, when one of the guys among them could see it and point it out.

Following the same routine, on a fine day, a bunch of employees came out for a smoke as they always do after spending an hour or two in front of their office computers. They settled in one of the cars parked there, and lighted cigarettes respective to their choice of brands, which is mostly chosen in accordance with what their pockets allowed. They chatted, made fun of their boss like everyday, then the girls in the adjoining offices in the same building, some office politics stuff and so on. What anyone can expect from bachelor guys, all of them below 30 in age. At moments, girls will pass from the narrow space between two opposite rows of parked cars and bikes. That moment, there is no chance anything else mattered as a subject of conversation.

Just then, a shining white Hyundai i10 drove into the parking lot. The guy at the driver seat was the only one inside. His eyes scanned for some space to park the car. There wasn’t any scope for more vehicles but just one spot, sufficient to park his car. As his eyes spotted it, he initiated the process required to park a car in a small parking lot meant for not more than 20-25 small cars, and a little space for repositioning the car.

But, he spent next 20 minus trying that without any success. His silly sense of ‘how to park a car’ entertained the smoker group. He was total driving disaster, not even a fine driver. With puffs of smoke, the atmosphere inside the other car was all laughing and mocking. Three of them knew how to drive and had been driving for months. We can say new comers on the road. The rest two had just completed the driving classes. So, the faults interested them more than any other aspect and they got easily indulged in that moment. Actually, the space was good enough to reposition it and park a car of that size in 5-6 forward and backward moves. “Why these guys buy expensive cars when they can’t even drive them?” said one of the smoker guys. One other claimed he could have done it in just half a minute. Third one added, “Is this guy a retard? He has wasted an extra litter of fuel and still struggling”. Also, some expert comments suggested, hinted what the driver should have done to park it correctly.

Seriously, a good, experienced driver would have parked a sedan in just 3 moves max, but that loser couldn’t do it in 20 minutes. He could see the laughing faces inside the other car, and it did embarrass him. All five of them enjoyed every bit of his stupid driving skills and sense of judgment. But, there was one guy, who had stopped mocking and was rather seemed to have noticed something that stood in contrast to what made the subject of humor. Of course, in a small Alto car packed with 5 people, the odd one was noticeable easily by the rest. What happened to you? Why you are sitting like a mute?” What bothered them was that how come suddenly he sat so seriously silent while a couple of minutes ago he too was having fun with the situation.

“I just notice the ‘L’ sign on the back of the car, may be, he lacked someone to aid him park the car. It happens with learners. But see, the car is parked perfectly in accordance with the space that the yellow lines on the ground allowed. ”

Meanwhile, the poor guy somehow fits the car perfectly in the available space at last. But, that took him almost 20 minutes, and still he took couple of extra minutes to check if it’s parked well or not.
Then, they noticed the car was brand new. The temporary number plate, shining white beauty, and the plastic covers on seats, new tires behind the dust on them, and the fresh color of the ‘Swastik’ mark on the bonnet confirmed that the car is just out from the showroom recently. As a matter of fact, the guy had joined recently in the adjoining office and it was the first day he was seen with a car.

There was a pin drop silence for a couple of seconds, and then suddenly, the topic of conversation jumped over to altogether different subject. “We might be going upstairs. It’s been a while.”

That silence of few seconds was the result of conflict between their egos and some compassionate chamber of their brains. This silence confirmed the embarrassment everyone felt of being average Indian onlookers, who mocked a guy when he actually needed a little assistance as he was a learner. Also, that none of them even notice the ‘L’ sign, and even the memories of the time when they were themselves under learning process of learning to drive.
The distinction between the odd guy and rest of them was that of perspective. His perspective was somewhat empathetic or say compassionate, while for all others the perspective was the extremity of imperfection for an owner of Hyundai i10.

Their mockery did not help, but it did distracted the already struggling man as he felt embarrassed for being a subject of humor and entertainment for others. It did make him nervous. He could have left his car idiotically parked, but here, ethically, he made sure that car occupy the instructed space, so that he doesn’t cause inconvenience to other people who shared the space.

But, this decent learner was emotionally bashed by a gang of five miscreants. Unfortunately, that hurts more than the physical wounds would do. It implied that silent was overwhelmed by the feeling of guilt. Especially, when one of the guys among them could see it and point it out.

They might or might not have noticed the L sign, but every other fact was the same as it appeared to the odd man, but still, the perspective was a complete contrast to compassion. Why the perspectives differed so much in these two cases when everyone is served the same facts confirmed with the exact visuals?

social status and mocking

As it appears from a distance is that both perspectives were there, inside the head of everyone. One of the perspectives was woven by ego, the pleasing colors of which shrouded, rejected the one woven by the unbiased mind. Being new drivers themselves, having recently bought a car, their own imperfection and their own moments of embarrassment they faced because of silly mistakes they made while learning were fresh. Their ego could not yet claim the expertise they had seen in ‘Fast & Furious’ or that of Jason Statham in ‘Transporter’. They sat in an Alto while a new i10 moves backwards-forward in front of them. The ego could hardly stand that sense of being a loser, not being capable of buying more than just a small car. The mockery and laughter were one of those compensatory revenges which they do not forget to take when the opportunity arise.

However, what slapped their mocking faces was the fact that no one actually even thought of getting out of the car to assist the guy using the same expertise they claimed while enjoying the show. If that had happened, the guy at the learning side would have received a very positive feedback, encouraging him to be helpful, not the wounded man craving for opportunities to compensate for the embarrassment his ego brought to him. Moreover, the feeling of being able to help someone is unmatchable, not even near the pleasant revenge of ego. The time spent in helping others is time well spent.

Don’t think it doesn’t cause any harm to the receiver, the one who was mocked at when he didn’t quite deserve it. It wounds his ego for being a subject of humor. His ego will definitely try to make up for it, perhaps, he’ll continue the chain. That’s the way society or any community behaves. People exchange what they already have, and here, in India, we have lot of insecurities, hate, and ignorance.

The ego reins our collective consciousness of our present social structure. Mind it every time you mock at anyone. It might cause him and the society in which he lives in an emotional damage. We need to stop preaching hate.

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Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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“This is a ladies seat”



Ladies seats in Himachal's buses

Shimla: Until now, I didn’t know the difference between a lady and a middle-aged woman when a ‘LADY’ on a local bus helped me distinguish it. While travelling in an overloaded local bus today, a voice from somewhere in the middle of the bus cracked into my ears saying “ye ladies seat hai.”

The irony of the situation was that the person who was trying to capture the so-called ladies seat was herself a lady, probably in her twenties. But, to my conscious, I came to know that women in their twenties are not considered ladies by other middle-aged ladies’. And, with no guilt, the ‘LADY’ took a seat proudly while the little ‘GIRL’ uttered softly but furiously “aap hi beth jao.”

The percentage of reserved seats for ladies in a local bus in Shimla is almost 50%. But this does not imply that women who are well built and enjoy a good health condition also cannot manage to stand for a few kms.

Reservation in India as a whole had already been criticized for a long time now.
But asking for a reservation for women and also granting it is not making women stronger or acceptable but weaker and vulnerable.

Women aren’t any minority in India who needs a reservation to prove themselves. And all women who think they need it are not strong enough to empower themselves.

Author: Tabbu Verma

Himachal Watcher may not necessarily share the same opinion as expressed by the author.

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Weeklong Harassment by Shimla’s Electricity and Water Departments



harrasement by hp govt departments
    If you have a property (house) in Shimla but you don’t stay here, you could end up paying a price for it. Price not only in monetary terms but in terms of undue stress and pain.

    I had been living in Rajasthan for a few months now, leaving home in Shimla only to return for the surprise of my life.

    In today’s technologically advanced system, I could be considered liable for a moment, but what transpired because of my negligence (if you may) is something I don’t want anyone else to go through. This is why I’m sharing my bitter experience with the electricity board and water department in Shimla.

    Living away from hometown, I should have paid water and electricity bills for my home in Shimla. I should have; but, due to negligence or over involvement in personal chores, I was unable to pay the bills online.

    All the while, I had it in the back of the mind but I thought I will pay the bills (with whatever penalties) in person the next time I am in Shimla.

    I thought it would be easy. Instead, I was for a week of mental trauma.

    When I came back to Shimla, a few days back, there was no electricity and water supply to my home.

    Worried not bewildered, I lived with it for the night and planned a visit the concerned departments the next morning, to clear the pending bills and have the water and electricity supplies restored.

    To my surprise, it wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be.

    When I went to pay the electricity bill at Lakkar Bazaar ( the area where my house is), I was asked to go to the main office of the electricity board in Sanjauli. I went to Sanjauli, where I was told that electricity connection to my house had been cut, and I needed to apply for a new connection.

    I was told a fresh file, for a new connection, had to be made.Now I was certainly bewildered.

    From then onward, I was sent from one electricity office to another for different papers. To the DC office for affidavits– all the procedures had to be done from scratch.

    It took almost a week (six dark days precisely)to complete the entire procedure afresh. All this while I didn’t find one person in the electricity board who cared for the mental trauma I was going through or how my family would be living without electricity.

    Finally, after innumerable visits to various offices of the electricity board, I took the file to the JE office in Snowdown hospital.

    Here, I was meted with a shock. The courteous JE informed that my family didn’t have to stay without electricity for so many days, neither did I have to go through all the pain. JE said ‘power supply could have been restored to my home in matter of few hours after the bill payment and the process for new application could have been followed thereafter.’

    He then sent a person from his office along with me to the concerned office in Lakkar Bazaar. Finally, we saw a bright night at my place.

    JE was the only person in the entire electricity board who talked nicely, gave me correct guidance and helped solve my problem.

    My worries were not just limited to the electricity board. I was all this while simultaneously running pillar to post to pay my water bill and have the water supply restored.

    The issue was an elaborate water bill, which was beyond anyone’s understanding. For us, we should have only been charged the meter rent because we had not used water for months.

    This is when I learned about plugging connection. When you are not at home and would not be using water for months, the water department requires you to plug the connection.

    This ensures you’ve only billed the meter rent and not for the usage (though, how do you end up using water when you’re not home stays an arguable story for me).

    During the weeklong process, I was not only without electricity at home, there was no water too.

    Considering myself a defaulter, I silently kept doing what the office bearers in the department were asking me to do.I was ready to follow the procedure but it was such a pain to see that no officer was considerate enough to help resolve the issue soon. Instead, I was made to run from one office to another with documents that were not even required.

    It took me eight long days to pay the pending bills, apply to have the water meter plugged, and to have water supply restored to my house.

    This was it, I couldn’t have taken anymore but the water department wasn’t done with its lackluster attitude.
    After a month of submitting the application to get the water meter plugged, I again received an inflated bill. I called the water billing office for clarity.

    After making an infinite number of calls, I was finally informed that the water meter of my home was still not plugged.

    Alas! What had I done wrong to deserve this?

    Immediately, I called up Mr. Laxmi Thakur (the person) responsible for plugging the water meter. He said ‘Madam, I plugged your meter the same day you asked me to’.

    The linesman was a helpful fellow.He took it upon himself and went to the billing office to check why I was still getting huge bills despite the meter being plugged.

    Post inquiry, he informed me that my file had reached the water department from Mayor’s office the same day I submitted it but people in the billing office didn’t update the same on their computer systems.
    With Mr Thakur’s efforts, my bill was recreated with the correct amount, which I then paid off instantly.

    Awareness tips

    •If electricity connection to your house is disconnected for non-payment of a bill, go directly to the JE of your area. The JE will escalate the matter and power supply will be restored. Now, follow the formalities, as guided, and get a new connection

    •If you have property in Shimla but you’re out and not using IPH water supply, get your meter plugged to avoid rentals above the meter rent

    By Rajni, Shimla

    Photo: Sk-bent ex

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Sensitivity where art thou, Shimla cries for you




Urbanization of shimla

Times are changing alright; we are progressing with age and time has come when pace of Shimla is matching the pace of most developed cities in India. Time was when modesty, selflessness and compassion flowed through the heart of residents of the Queen of Hill. With development and large scale urbanization, the mindset of the town is changing – and the change is demeaning the basic culture and charm of the city.

Development and urbanization are slow poison to say. Initially they taste refreshing – refreshing to the extent that humans are lured so magnetically to them. Culminating effect is fatal. Shimla is sipping on this slow poison and is headed for self destruction.

Who is to blame? Finger pointing comes naturally to Indians, so when I ask this, all of us will have our fingers pointed at the administration.

Constitutionally this is correct – and why not, the administration and public representatives we have voted to power are responsible for it all. If there is uncontrolled urbanization – government policies should have been framed to avoid it. If there is unmanageable garbage on roads, pollution in the air and contaminated water in the taps – administration should have strict measures in place. But, considerable citizens are we the main contributors to this?

I once read “your character is what you are when you are alone”, and it has stayed with me ever since. I bring this up to validate my point. We citizens are primarily responsible for the rumpus we confront in the town of late.

Himachalis, the residents of the abode of snow, are by virtue sensitive to change, sensitive to our culture and sensitive to the surroundings. Thus, for Shimlaites this sense of sensitivity comes by default.

Change is the only constant. Change we must and so we are steadily. We are more literate, more monetarily concerned and at near prime of a standard of living. Culturally we are still rooted – probably our previous generation has instilled this sense in us. Concern looms on our sensitivity to the surroundings.

We are literate, but our education has defaulted somewhere. We are concerned but our sensitivity is lost somewhere. We blame but our self-conscience has gone astray.

Back in school (this would be some 20 years back) moral science and civics was taught to me. Back then I never realized how my consciousness towards little civic duties and efforts towards betterment of my surrounding would make a difference. Today I realize it, but my neighbour makes me believe, I am in the wrong part of the world with an unwanted conscience.

How justified is it then to be the run off the mill? Is what your neighbour doing the correct way to do things, I often ask this to myself. I don’t get an answer – an answer is difficult to find because ‘this is India and nothing is going to change here ever.’ This cliché must have reached your ears a number of times. I am growing old listening to it.

Certainly this is not how it should be, at least that sensitivity instilled in me by being part of the hill state, tells me so. Calling out to all who follow – Change we must!

Change to ask questions, why my rights are being murdered by incapable, narrow sighted governance. Change to come to terms with my sensitivity to question that neighbour who stays and feeds on my city’s resources but fails to do his bit in return. Change to question my own acts when I’m in public or when I am walking down the road by myself.

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